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View Article  Scenes from Moscows Crackdown on Gay Pride: Pay Attention Pittsburgh
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View Article  Purse Totin' Tinky Winky Gay - Again?

Oh those wacky Polish children's rights watchers .... always a day behind and a dollar short.  Remeber back in 1999 when Jerry Falwell deemed Teletubbie Tinky Winky a homo because he carried a purse (TW is the purple one)?  Now Ewa Sowinski is on the same bandwagon.  Well, she way until apparently someone reminder her of 1999 so she's off again.

"I noticed that he has a purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy. At first I thought that must be a bother for him," Sowinska told the magazine in an interview her office approved before publication. "Later I learned that there could be some hidden homosexual undertones."

Sowinska is a member of the League of Polish Families party, which is militantly anti-gay rights and anti-abortion. The party is a junior member in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Spokespeople from Sowinska's office have confirmed that they will not ask psychologists to examine the character.

Kacszynski has famously said, ""It's not in the interests of any society to increase the number of homosexuals, that's obvious."

I have a recurring dream that my father and I are on a long highway and we see a bridge that says "This way to Poland" and another exit that says "This way to France."  For some reason, I always want to go to Poland.  My father goes to France anyway.  For the record, as a lesbian and a woman, I'd much rather go to France.  Thank goodness for my Dad.

View Article  Pgh on Hate Crimes

 I completely missed this.  The Post-Gazette ran an editorial on May 21 opposing extending federal hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the end of the day, we are troubled by making distinctions that implicitly give a greater importance to one crime over a similar one simply because of the motivation of the perpetrators (a determination that has a Thought Police aspect to it) or because of how one victim can be categorized demographically.

The same desire that moves us to support equal treatment of all -- men and women, black and white, gay and straight -- also propels us to think that an assault is an assault, a murder is a murder and that crimes should be prosecuted without making invidious distinctions in the eyes of the law, before whom all should stand equal.

In an ideal world, that's nice.  Was Tony Norman off on this day?  Because no one claims that the murder of a heterosexual white Catholic male is less devastating and horrific than the murder of a person who is African-American, Jewish or gay.  But very rarely is that individual murdered with the intent of creating a chilling effect on the larger minority community. 

Expanding federal jurisdiction is necessary to ensure fair and equal treatment of crimes motivated by hate, especially when state and local authorities can't or won't investigate or prosecute.  How an editorial board so in touch with the modern trend of states abridging basic civil protections of the LGBTQ community can fail to see the need for this protection is beyond me.  Remember when states refused to investigate voting discrimination against African-American citizens?  Remember when states wouldn't let black students in public schools?  Why was federal intervention okay in those instances, but not when it comes to queers and trannies?

I sure as hell don't trust Pennsyvania to do a good job investigating hate crimes against LGBTQ citizens.  At least not all of Pennsylvania.  Most of our so-called Democratic legislators from Western Pennsylvania voted for amending the constitution to protect marriage from the queers before they voted against it.  Politically expedient for their careers, but a clear message to us here in da' burgh that we cannot count on anyone to respect and value us as full and equal citizens in the Commonwealth. 

Or how about the now and future Sheriff of Allegheny County telling a crowd of gay people that there really aren't any problems around gay issues for local law enforcement, even after 20+ years on the Pittsburgh police force.  Do you think he's going to be receptive to a hate crime investigation when a transexual prostitute is beaten to a bloody pulp in South Park?  Hmmm ....I know that would be the County Police, not the Sheriff but the point is about his attitude, not his jurisdiction.  He's a law enforcment leader and should be setting the bar high for protecting all residents of the County.

For a clear analysis on the revision of the federal hate crimes legislation, check out what the YWCA has to say here.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has some other interesting stuff. 

Back here in Pittsburgh, two letters to the editor about Hate Crimes legislation moving through the federal level.

Robert Timm of Mt. Lebanon agrees with the Post-Gazette.

I can't seem to find the difference between murder. Why is there a difference between the murder of a white, a minority or a homosexual person? If they were all murdered by the same person, why should one be treated any differently than the other two?

In my opinion they are all the same. Hate is hate, and should be handled according.

Timm doesn't seem to get that it is not the crime, but the motivation for the crime that's at stake.  No one is suggesting going easier on crimes against the majority population.  If a serial murdered kills a random group of people, the death of the homo is not greater than the death of the hetero.  But when a group of frat boys target and beat up a young man because he is gay, they are trying to send a message to gay people.  Why is that so hard to understand?

Ian S. Thompson of Baden seems to get it.  It is about the crime, not the value of the victim. 

While all Americans -- men and women, black and white, gay and straight -- should be treated equally under the law, the same cannot be said for crimes. While it would certainly be easy to simply say that one murder is as awful and should be treated the same as any other murder, the facts do not bear this out.

When a young man is viciously beaten and left to die in the cold and isolation of an October night in Wyoming simply because he is gay, that crime has ramifications far beyond its own awful brutality.

Hate crimes by their very nature aim to instill terror within an entire community. While one person may be left with the physical wounds and scars of an attack, similar people from across a community, state or even country are left to wonder if they could be next.

Hate crimes are about isolating, silencing and making people cower in the corners. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a good bill and should be signed into law.

Amen, brother.

View Article  Miss Mona holds her own and other stuff of note from Lesbian Central

It has been a roller coaster around Lesbian Central.  Overall, things are good, but Ledcat and I are exhausted (and it is only Monday).

As you may recall, Miss Mona began her chemo treatments last week.  She has done remarkably well with only a few minor side effects making an appearance.  Today, she stood in the kitchen barking her heart out when we left the house, so I know she's feeling better (and peeved about being left behind with the cats).  She has four more rounds of chemo to go over the next four months.  We also switched her to this no-grain/high protein diet called Evo, The Ancestral Diet which she loves, as well as some no/low grain treats.  Apparently, carbs feed cancer and a diet high in protein and fat fights back.  Who knew? 

The very day she began her chemo, I found a lump on Deus' jaw.  My heart sank and I was pretty upset.  Off we went to Allegheny Veterinary Associates only to discover, to my great relief, that is was a fatty tumor.  Deus enjoyed the car ride.  He has gained 10 pounds and now weighs 120 which makes him almost equal in size to Ledcat.  Wrestling him to the ground to trim his nails was great fun.  I should bring my grandmother to the vet with me -- she's nearly 91, weighs 110 and he is gentle as a lamb when he's around her.  She has absolutely no fear of the boys and they pick up on it.  I think it is because she collects crumbs in her lap and doesn't mind if they sniff her.  :-)   Anyway, Deus is fine albeit chubby.  Ledcat thinks we tie a hot dog over his head and get him to run around the yard chasing it.  :-)

Next week is Grandma's 91st birthday.  As a surprise, I am taking her for her absolute favorite thing -- ice cream.  We'll go to Klavons in the Strip District because I think she'll get a kick out of the retro soda fountain.  Plus, I know they will fuss over her which is her second most favorite thing.  Third is seeing Miss Mona.  Mona goes for ice cream all the time and enjoys munching on a cone and all the pets she receives from other ice cream aficionados.  I'm not sure I can swing Mona and Grandma at the ice cream parlor at the same time -- they are both rather feisty grand dames. 

I'm off this week to attend the wedding of my college roomie and long-time friend, BJ.  I haven't seen her family in over a decade so I am very excited.  They live in New York City.  Ledcat is staying home with the critters to keep an eye on Miss Mona.  I promised my therapist I would leave my laptop at home, but I just cannot do it ... four days without email is more than I can bear.  Plus, I have designated downtime when I'm trapped at the hotel with only out of town guests and in-laws, so I can use that for blogging time.  (Yes, I'm taking work with me, too.  There's no such thing as a real vacation in the wonderful world of social work.)

Other items of interest (at least to me):

*  We tried out the new restaurant in Allegheny West ... Muriel's Garden and it rocks.  The food is reasonably priced and awesome.  The staff was great.  We enjoyed dining al fresco in a quaint garden space.  Their salad dressing is really delicious and I had a great pasta dish with tomatoes and mushrooms.  Plus, bread pudding with whiskey sauce.  Try it.  And.... they are uber gay friendly.  Several homos on staff (this I confirmed through MySpace) and a real gay sensibility to the place. 

*  We also hit our absolute favorite Indian restaurant, Taj Mahal on McKnight Road.  That place is simply always delish.  We get into a bit of a rut with regard to entrees, but it's a wondrous rut.  There seems to have been a recent turnover in staff which has only improved the service.  I used to shy away because I would wait in vain for a water refill, but now I am amply hydrated.

*  I had this giant vase filled with change that I've accumulated for the past five years.  So off to Giant Eagle we went to take advantage of their coin counting machine.  I learned that I could redeem my change for a gift card and pay no fee so I opted to get a Borders gift card and a Starbucks card.  $80 later ...Ledcat and I splurged at Borders, her with two cds and me with two books.  I never buy books, preferring the library.  So this was huge for me, but I couldn't very well get a $57 Starbucks gift card.  Well, I could have but it wouldn't have been pretty ... I found it a bit odd that you couldn't get a Giant Eagle gift card from the machine.  However, I am happy to have reading material for the airplane trip. 

So there you have it. Feed your dogs ancestrally.  Feed yourselves at two great local restaurants.  Save your pennies.  And be nice to your grandma because you don't know how long you'll have her around.  Or your dog. 

View Article  Gay man with local roots named associate helm of Three Rivers Arts Festival

From today's Post-Gazette, I learned that the Three Rivers Arts Festival has recruited a talented young gay man as the associated director.  His name is Chris Taylor, he's from Penn Hills and he describes himself as "single and looking for a domestic partner."  Love that.

Taylor recently earned an M.A. in administration and policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since his last year of graduate school, he'd been director of community and cultural programs for the Center on Halsted, a Chicago gay and lesbian community organization.

Always nice when there is a bit of good gay news in the paper.  Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Chris.

View Article  John Edwards Answers "Gay Issues" Questionnaire from the HRC

Courtesy of Pam's House Blend

I think these answers are consistent with what we've heard so far from John Edwards, along with an clear statement that he supports the repeal of DOMA, which is what stands in the way of marriage equality on paper. Every single candidate who is in favor of civil unions cannot realistically expect to earn a gay vote without crossing this bridge.

That said, there is a follow-up question that needs to be asked, with companies denying benefits to couples in civil unions, how will Edwards or any other candidate will ensure that gay and lesbian couples will be treated equally under the law in a separate-but-equal on paper legal arrangement that cannot be called "marriage?" Civil unions, domestic partnerships and any other half measures are going to fail because they are not culturally equal.  The word, even when referring only to civil marriage, is universally understood and accepted.

Pam has the original .pdf file of the HRC questionnaire.

My understanding is that Edwards has been the first Dem presidential candidate to get his answers out there.  I'm personally not impressed with Hillary and Barack at this point -- I have significant suspicion that they would sell out the LGBTQ community to curry favor among socially conservative Democrats, especially people whose faith pronounces us immoral. 

However, I'm not convinced Edwards wouldn't do that same.  Saying that he's "not there yet" on gay marriage is a bunch of hooey.  Denying Ledcat and I 1,000+ federal benefits because of his personal morality is just wrong.  Especially since I suspect his personal morality is about political expediency and the "faith" vote. 

However, I agree with Pam that Edwards is worth a second or third look.  I've been saying all along that its going to be Edwards for Pres and Obama for VP.  That's still my call. 

View Article  PG Reader: Don't Impose Christo Morality Code on Others

I love letters to the editor, almost as much as I enjoy the comics.  I truly admire folks who take the time to pen a letter, even when I do not admire their perspective or beliefs.  From the perspective of a lesbian blogger, it is valuable for intolerant people to put their prejudice, bigotry and rational out there for everyone to read. It is like a blueprint of hate. It is just as valuable when gay people and our allies take the time to put another perspective out there, affirming the value and dignity of people in the gay community.

Today's letter is one of the latter.  Joseph Kowalski of North Huntington responds to a recent epistle from Matt Muffmyer who, like so many of his christo-comrades, believes it is necessary to beat us over the head with his verion of WWJD.  Matt thinks Jesus was anti-homosexual and anti-pornography, and admonishs us to avoid the Jesus buffet aka pick and choose Christianity.

Unlike me, Joseph took the high road and did not mock Matt (who appears to be a frattesque boy from Grove City College - are you surprised?).  Instead, Joseph offers a succint response .... well, read it for yourselves:

I'm not here to debate what is and isn't included in the Bible because in a free society that enjoys freedom of religion, equality isn't based on the Bible. As a gay man living in the United States, I should have all the rights and privileges afforded to heterosexual citizens.

In the United States, Christians are free to be repelled by any and all sins mentioned in the Bible, and they can practice their moral code as it applies to them. However, Christians are not free to impose their moral code on others.

That's the piece that some Christians don't want to acknowledge -- no one is forcing churches in Vermont to perform gay marriages.  The state cannot compel a church to change their religious activities; it just doesn't get to cross that line into imposing on other people. This is an important point because the Christian zealots very much want to impose their morality on the rest of us -- conversion to their way of thinking is the only real option. 

Kudos to Mr. Kowalski for reminding of that very fact. 

View Article  MacLesbians

Two big McIntire lesbian items of note ...

First, I'll be around 2:20 this afternoon to chat about Mary Cheney and Heather Poe's baby son. 

Second, I got a nice shout out as a "sometimes political" blogger who confirmed Bruce Kraus' gayness.  If you want to know who else is gay, but not open about it and usually voting against our community, check aht www.blogactive.com   If you want to read what John McIntire thinks about it all (Kraus, not closeted self-loathing Republican homos), click on "nice shout out" and check aht his City Paper column. 

View Article  PG Reader - Jesus Isn't Running a Buffet!

Matt Huffmyer of Westview has had it with pick and choose Christians who toss out all the good Old Testament stuff b/c Jesus didn't talk about it. 

Stuff like homosexuality and porn. 

Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets. They clearly state that any type of sexuality outside of the bond of marriage between a man and a woman is a sin. Just because Jesus doesn't specifically speak about homosexual behavior and Hustler magazine does not mean He wouldn't confront us today.

There I was thinking that thousands of years of debate among all sorts of Bibleworshippers meant there was room for interpretation.  But, obviously, they were all wrong and our buddy up in Westview has it right.  Jesus, like many Christians, was obsessed with all thing sexual in spite of his actual teachings about poverty, forgiveness, hunger, love, charity, etc.

Jesus knows that to fully understand love and grace that we need to fully understand and accept responsibility for our own sin. Jesus' teachings are not a buffet. We are not to pick and choose as we see fit but must eat the entire meal.

That's right Matt so how about you convince your buddies to put down the fetus signs and sign up to adopt an unwanted 8 year old child?  How about you spend your lunch break at the Allegheny County Jail holding the hand of the mother of an 19 year old inmate?  How about you pick up some socks and underwear at Target and drop it at the Wood Street Shelter?  Or stop by the food bank this Saturday to pack up some groceries?  How about you lobby Congress to increase funding for human service programs to make sure our poorest citizens are cared for?  How about, how about, how about?

How about you worry about the issues that your friend Jesus recognized actually hurt people the most -- poverty, isolation, anger, imprisonment, hunger, hatred?  Leave Larry Flynt to the homos. 

 

View Article  Official Lesbian Pet Delegate, Miss Mona, Begins Treatment for Cancer

Tis a day of mixed emotions here at Lesbian Central.  Our dear Miss Mona, age 11, has been diagnosed with early stage lymphoma.  She begins chemotherapy tomorrow morning.  She has to go once every 3 weeks for 5 treatments.  Poor Miss Mona has lost some weight and a bit of her sassy energy, but otherwise she remains dogged in her daily pursuits:  stealing tennis balls from her brothers, sleeping on the furniture and eating cat food whenever possible. 

We are hopeful that the treatment will be successful in making her final months comfortable.  Chemotherapy is much less awful for dogs than people.  My Dad was a bit concerned she would lose all her fur and scare my grandmother, but that is typically not a dog side effect.  I hope.  Not so much to avoid scaring grandmother though.  No, other than a bit of intestinal distress, the typical side effects are not bad.  Otherwise, I wouldn't put her through it. 

Still, she's my dog.  She was a stray dog running amok on the streets when a car hit her and broke her hip. They took her to the hospital where my friend Dr. John worked.  He fixed her up and suggested I foster her.  That was 9 years ago.  Obviously, she stuck.  My Dad named her Mona because she makes this low moaning sound when she's unhappy.  She's a super smart, funny, sassy little lady. 

This past weekend, our 17 month old niece came to visit and was all giggles and smiles to meet Mona.  Mona licked her a few times and then became much more interested in the adult with the leftover hotdog.  When Mona would bark, I said "woof woof" to keep Ava from being afraid.  In two seconds flat, Ava was saying "fff, fff" to imitate her.  It was very cute. Mona was not impressed and kept trying to land a hotdog. 

What does this have to do with anything?  Not much, except that it is my blog and I need to put this out there in the universe for some good healing vibes.  This is our second pet cancer challenge this year -- our cat had breast cancer and is doing fine.  So all you pet lovers our there, lesbian or not, please keep a kind thought for Miss Mona. 

She's our good girl.

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